Cemetery Junction (film)

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Cemetery Junction
Cinematic release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
Music by Tim Atack
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Edited by Valerio Bonelli
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • 14 April 2010 (2010-04-14)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £1,329,002[1]

Cemetery Junction is a 2010 British coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 14 April 2010.[2]


In 1970s Britain, three friends spend their days joking, drinking, fighting and chasing girls. Freddie (Christian Cooke) wants to leave their working-class world but cool, charismatic Bruce (Tom Hughes) and lovable loser Snork (Jack Doolan) are happy with life the way it is. When Freddie gets a new job as a door-to-door salesman and bumps into his old school sweetheart Julie (Felicity Jones), the gang are forced to make choices that will change their lives forever.

Freddie gets a job working for Julie's dad (Ralph Fiennes) selling life insurance in the hopes of bettering his life and not ending up living like his father (Ricky Gervais), he learns from the firm's top seller Mike Ramsay (Matthew Goode), who is also Julie's fiance, a way of using emotional blackmail as a way of conning people into buying insurance. Bruce lives life to the fullest with the notion that one day he will leave Cemertery Junction, he heavily resents his father (Francis Magee) for letting his mother leave for another without fighting for her. Snork just lives for spending his time with Bruce and Freddie, working at the train station and looking for a girlfriend which is regularly prevented by his inappropriate attitude. Freddie rekindles his friendship with Julie who reveals her dreams to see the world and become a photographer, but it's perfectly clear that her father expects her to become a regular housewife just like her mother.

Freddie is invited to his firm's winner's ball to celebrate his and several others initiation to the company and brings Bruce and Snork along with him. During the night, Snork becomes bored with the entertainment, claiming he could do better Bruce convinces them to let him perform with them. The crowd initially enjoy his performance but he takes it to far and tells a highly inappropriate joke, embarrassing Freddie to the highest extent. He confronts and berates his friends for embarrassing him but Bruce shrugs it off still claiming he will leave and that Freddie will never be like them because he's 'not a cunt', which the crowd overhears and forces them to leave.

The next day Freddie goes about the town thanking the clients he has received for helping him start his new career, he learns that his very first client's husband died. Deciding not to live off of peoples misery, he asks Bruce when they plan to leave. They invite Julie along to a nightclub and convince Snork to go along with them. In the club Bruce starts dancing with a black woman for which he is ridiculed by two men which causes him to attack the two men and get himself locked up for the night.

Freddie takes Julie home and they develop the pictures Julie had taken throughout the night and they get into an argument about their feelings, the lives of her parents and Julie's engagement to Mike which is exactly the same finally culminates in Freddie declares his love for Julie and asks him to leave with him and she tells him to go. At the same time Bruce is met in his cell by officer Wayne Davies (Steve Speirs), an old friend of his dad and the one man Bruce respects, who is fed up with Bruce taking his frustrations with his father out on everyone else and tells him the story of the night his mother left - which reveals that his mother abandoned him and wanted nothing to do with him but his dad did - and forces him to grow up and get over his anti-social behavior.

The following morning, Snork goes over to a cafe he frequents and asks for a chat with Louise, a girl who works there who has feelings for Snork, and they form a relationship. That same morning Freddie packs his stuff and Bruce walks home and silently makes amends with his father. When Freddie arrives at the train station he finds Snork ready for work and has changed his mind and they have an emotional goodbye. At the same time Julie conducts an experiment and realizes Freddie was right and rushes to the train station. Bruce phones the station and asks Snork to tell Freddie he has changed his mind. Deciding not to go alone Freddie almost leaves until he sees Julie pelting towards him and they board the train together.



The film uses the backdrop of Reading's Cemetery Junction

The film was originally titled The Man from the Pru, a colloquial term (and later an advertising slogan) for agents of the Prudential insurance company. During the writing of the film, the Prudential allowed Gervais and Merchant to use their archives for research. However, after reading the finished script, the company decided it was not pleased with how the company was to be portrayed in the film and decided not to allow their name to be used. The new title comes from the name of the Cemetery Junction in the Newtown district of the town of Reading where the film takes place.[3]

Principal photography began on 15 June 2009,[4] Filming locations included Taylors Bell Foundry and the Great Central Railway using Loughborough Central railway station.[5] However, the intermittent scenes which show the camera panning around a countryside landscape were filmed in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Several of the street scenes were filmed in Woodstock, Oxfordshire with Woodstock Town Hall being used to portray the exterior of the Cemetery Junction police station. An extended trailer was broadcast on Channel 4 on 31 January 2010.

Cemetery Junction is set in a small town in 1973. Gervais explained that the title of the film was taken from Cemetery Junction, Reading, an area he knew as a child – an actual road junction in Reading, where Wokingham Road divides from London Road. Gervais also adds "[...] it's not really set in Reading, it's any small town, anywhere in the world to be honest."[6] According to him, it is a "coming of age" story that is a cross between The Office and Mad Men.[7]


In an interview with BBC Radio 2's Danny Wallace on 9 January 2010, Merchant stated the script was loosely based upon the lyrics of the Bruce Springsteen song "Thunder Road".[8] This sentiment was repeated by Gervais on 12 April 2010 when he appeared on The Graham Norton Show.[citation needed]

Gervais told BBC South Today that British "kitchen sink" films such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning were an influence on the film.


Interviewed for The Guardian, Gervais explained his music choices for film:[9]

Junction is probably the most personal of all my work so far. Sure, I worked in an office for 8 years as a middle manager, like that David Brent, then I worked my way up in TV like that Andy Millman, and like most comedians, my stand up is observational. But Cemetery Junction is not only based on my memories of my most formative years but it feeds on the most fundamental things in the making of a man: family, economics, the time and place you happened to be plonked in. Even though the movie is a fiction, the values, themes and characters are based on my memory of growing up in Reading in the early 70s. The soundtrack had to reflect that. It's purely coincidence that the songs in the film happen to be some of my favourites. (Just one of the perks of being a writer/director/producer/failed pop star).

The soundtrack for the film includes the following:[10]


Reviews of the film were generally mixed. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 57% based on 35 professional reviews, summing them up as: "It fails to challenge the well-established conventions of its storyline, but Cemetery Junction benefits from the genuine warmth of its script, as well as its refusal to give in to cheap nostalgia."[11]

Total Film magazine giving it four out of five stars and calling it "the most confident British debut since Shallow Grave".[12] Time Out magazine gave the film three stars and said it was "refreshing to see a mainstream British film with the ambition to strut its stuff on studio terms".[13] Adam Smith of the Radio Times commented that "it's deftly written, unobtrusively directed and nicely acted" and also gave it three stars.[14] OK! appreciated the "sweet characters and good actors" and also liked "the vintage look of the film" and the "great supporting cast".[15] The Daily Mirror gave the film a very positive review awarding it four stars and saying; "The film is no simple-minded laugh-fest, but rather an astute, amusing and engaging coming-of-age tale with a killer soundtrack of 1970s classics".[16]

On the other hand, Uncut called it a "passable, mildly diverting, coming-of-age Brit-flick".[17] Andrew Barker of Variety wrote, "It's a strange hybrid of a film, boasting loudmouth boorishness instead of wit, and fortune-cookie schmaltz instead of heart."[18] Peter Bradshaw reviewed the film for The Guardian and concluded that the film "is entertaining as far as it goes, but it would have to be fully and Gervaisishly funny, or else fully nasty, vinegary and sad before everyone involved was, to coin a phrase, up the junction."[19]

Box office[edit]

The film's opening weekend receipts were £641,218. By the end of its theatrical run in the UK, the film had taken in £1,329,002.[20]

Home media[edit]

Cemetery Junction was released in the UK in both DVD and Blu-ray format on 30 August 2010. The DVD bonus features include a commentary track from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, deleted scenes and two featurettes including interviews with the cast and crew. The Blu-ray release also includes several additional featurettes.

Columbia Pictures decided not to theatrically release the film in the company's home market. Accordingly, the film was released on DVD in Canada and the US by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on 17 August 2010.[21]


  1. ^ IMDb
  2. ^ "Television interview with Jonathan Ross", Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (BBC One), 4 September 2009 
  3. ^ Shaw, Gareth (21 April 2009). "Pru Blocks Gervais Film Name". Money Management. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Plumplard.com August 2004. "Ricky Gervais... Obviously". Rickygervais.com. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Real-life extras star in Ricky's new movie". Leicester Mercury. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on Cemetery Junction". BBC News. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Akbar, Arifa (18 August 2008). "After The Office, it's the Man from the Pru next for Ricky Gervais". The Independent (London). 
  8. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – Dermot O'Leary: 09/01/10". Bbc.co.uk. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  9. ^ Gervais, Ricky (10 April 2010). "Ricky Gervais on the Cemetery Junction soundtrack". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Soundtracks for Cemetery Junction (2010)" at imdb.com
  11. ^ Cemetery Junction at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ "Cemetery Junction review". Total Film. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.  4/5 stars
  13. ^ Lowe, Andy (15 March 2010). "Cemetery Junction Review". Time Out. Retrieved 4 December 2010.  3/5 stars
  14. ^ "Cemetery Junction film review". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Movie Reviews :: Review: Cemetery Junction". OK!. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.  3/5 stars
  16. ^ Adams, Mark. "Film review: Cemetery Junction – At the Movies with Mark Adams". Blogs.mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2010.  4/5 stars
  17. ^ Roberts, Chris. "Ricky Gervais – Film Reviews: Cemetery Junction – Review". Uncut. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  18. ^ Barker, Andrew (8 August 2010). "Film Reviews: Cemetery Junction". Variety. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (15 April 2010). "Cemetery Junction: Film Review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 January 2013.  3/5 stars
  20. ^ "Box office / business for Cemetery Junction". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "page for US DVD release". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 

External links[edit]